Pharmacology is a highly recognized discipline worldwide, since it is responsible for conducting the study of how the drugs we consume when we are sick act in the biological and chemical systems of our body and, in the opposite direction, how our body reacts in the presence of these external chemical substances.
WHAT IS PHARMACOLOGY?
Pharmacology is the science that studies and tries to understand how drugs act in our body and, conversely, how our body acts on drugs. The pharmacy, unlike pharmacology, studies the preparation and dispensing of medicines.
Drugs are compounds or chemicals that have a specific therapeutic function. Pharmacology focuses on how a drug is introduced into the body, where the body acts and how the body removes this chemical.
A pharmacologist can also study the therapeutic potential of a drug, the interaction of this drug with others of different types and the adverse reactions or side effects that its administration can cause; These are also known as toxicities.
This science is divided into two major areas of research: pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Pharmacodynamics refers to the study of the molecular, biochemical and physiological effects of drugs in our body and their respective mechanism of action. In contrast, pharmacokinetics study how our body absorbs, distributes and expels (excretes) the pharmacological substances.
As can be seen, pharmacodynamics takes into account how drugs act in our body, while pharmacokinetics studies how our body acts on drugs.
THE 6 MAIN BRANCHES OR DIVISIONS
There are several branches or divisions of pharmacology that use basic principles of pharmacology but in different ways. Pharmacology can be divided according to the body organ that is being studied. From this perspective, its branches include neuropharmacology, endocrine pharmacology and cardiovascular pharmacology, among many other categories.
In addition to dividing the field of pharmacology on the basis of the system of target organs where drugs act, pharmacology can also be divided into subdisciplines. These sub-disciplines include clinical, molecular and behavioural pharmacology.
1. Molecular pharmacology
Molecular pharmacology studies the interaction of drugs at the cellular level. This includes studies on the interaction of drugs with protein receptors expressed on the surface of the cell.
For example, the medication for asthma, albuterol, interacts with beta receptors in the lung to increase air flow.
2. Clinical pharmacology
The field of clinical pharmacology focuses on the therapeutic use of drugs, the interactions of drugs with others in the body and the nature of adverse reactions to their administration.
3. Behavioural pharmacology
The effect of medications on human behaviour is the basis of the discipline of behavioural pharmacology.
Behavioural pharmacology includes the investigation of addictions. This subdiscipline of pharmacology seeks to understand why people become addicted to drugs of abuse such as alcohol or cannabis.
Neuropharmacology includes the study of the effects on the brain and the rest of the nervous system of drugs of abuse, such as heroin, but also other types of drugs, for example, those used to treat disorders that occur in the nervous system such as L -dopa (for Parkinson's).
5. Cardiovascular pharmacology
Cardiovascular pharmacology focuses on studying drugs that can alter the functioning of the heart and the circulatory (or vascular) system in general.
6. Endocrine pharmacology
Endocrine pharmacology focuses on the analysis of the interaction of drugs with various hormones or hormonal systems, such as birth control pills.
TRAINING IN THIS SCIENCE AND RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS
Pharmacology is usually taught as a common subject in different science careers such as medicine, nursing, psychology or biology. There are also masters related more specifically to the study of pharmacology.
The study of this science requires knowledge of biology, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, but it also requires the use of statistics and laboratory mathematics. In relation to the chemistry that is treated, it is usually basic chemistry and organic chemistry and, in many cases, it can even include practical classes in laboratories.
Currently, the field of pharmacology is experiencing very rapid growth. The pharmaceutical industry generates billions of dollars a year and, with each scientific advance that is taking place over the years, it is becoming more necessary to use this type of information to create new medicines or preventive methods of action in medicine.